Do you want to look younger, longer? (OK, is there really anyone out there who doesn’t?)If you want to keep the hands of time from ticking, it’s critical to wear sunscreen around your eyes to slow down all the telltale signs of aging in this area. The effects of sun exposure can contribute to the formation and worsening of wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness. And yet even the most dedicated SPF wearers often miss this super-important spot.Now, I understand that it’s common for people to neglect sunscreen application around the eyes because it can cause stinging in many cases. But it doesn’t have to! Here’s how to protect your eyes effortlessly.

Choose the right product The formula makes all the difference here. I recommend SkinMedica Daily Physical Defense SPF 30+ Sunscreen to my patients, and Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 in the drugstore. Both lotions absorb quickly and completely into all skintones from the lightest to darkest. This way, the sunscreen won’t sit on top of skin and then migrate to your eyes, making them itch and burn.

Be extra gentle Simply tugging at the thin skin around eyes can cause fine lines to grow and deepen before you even get to environmental factors like sun exposure. When spreading product in this area, always use your ring finger since it’s the weakest digit on your hand and use a tapping instead of pulling motion. Imagine your skin is a rose petal that can risk tearing underneath strong force.

Wear sunglasses as a supplement Look for sunglasses that are labeled with UVA/UVB protection, and wear them as an extra buffer to your sunscreen. Just keep in mind that while good shades do provide a lot of protection, it’s still not enough alone. Routinely wearing sunglasses outside will also prevent you from squinting, which is a notorious cause of wrinkling around the eyes. Plus, you’ll look glamorous.

Be alert for skin cancer According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, eyelids are one of the most common sites for skin cancer, with 5 to 10 percent of all basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma occurring here. Since lids contain so little tissue, skin cancer spreads faster here than in other areas. Again, your best line of defense is sunscreen application coupled with sunglasses. If you see a growth on your eyelid, get it checked out with your dermatologist. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Repair at night And at night, I always recommend keeping the eye area moisturized. You don’t need a fancy eye cream unless you want to treat yourself to one; simply keeping this fragile skin hydrated with moisturizer will decrease fine lines and wrinkles. By taking a moment to care for the skin around your eyes daily, you can enjoy the wisdom that comes with age instead of premature wrinkles!

QUIZ: Are Your Sun Habits Protecting You Enough?

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Editor’s picks: SPF eye creams for daily useClinique Superdefense SPF 20 Age Defense Eye Cream, $40, Dior Beauty Diorsnow BB Eye Creme SPF 20 PA++, $44, SkinCeuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50, $29, Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream SPF 34, $35, Dermalogica Total Eye Care with SPF 15, $37